Meet SHINKAI KAROKHAIL.
Shinkai Karokhail is currently serving as an elected parliamentarian in the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Her extraordinary achievement is to be one of the few women MPs in a government dominated by men.
Shinkai’s story began in the rural Islamic village of Chinar in Kabul province, where she was born. Shinkai grew up surrounded by traditional notions that placed the value of men much higher than women. But that did not stop her from proactively pursuing higher education. Shinkai earned a diploma in English and became a trained medical doctor.
In 1991, Shinkai cofounded and directed the Afghan Women’s Educational Centre (AWEC). AWEC works with women and children to improve their education, as well as to advocate and create awareness for women’s rights. Shinkai firmly believes that education is the most important step in empowering women to create change around them. She is also convinced that education is essentially to helping women protecting themselves against rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Bringing women into politics is also important to Shinkai. In 2005, Shinkai decided to run for parliament – and she won! She credits the overwhelming support from her friends, and a strong belief that changes in legislation can help improve the quality of life for women in Afghanistan. Shinkai faced an incredible amount of backlash from her male family members. Even her own brother refused to speak with her.
The good news is that her brother has come around to support Shinkai. He realized that the people of their village were supporting Shinkai. When she decided to run for a second term, Shinkai’s brother decided to not only stand by and cheer—but he also worked to help in her campaign. This was an amazing reminder for Shinkai that people’s minds can be changed.
Women will eventually take their place as equals alongside men in Afghanistan.
Visit the Afghan Women’s Educational Centre (AWEC).
To watch a full interview with Shinkai, click here.